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January 6, 2011

Lee deal official: one year, $7.25 million

The Orioles have officially announced their one-year deal with 35-year-old first baseman Derrek Lee, who passed his team physical Wednesday,

The deal is worth $7.25 million guaranteed this season but could be worth as much as $10 million total if he hits certain performance bonuses.

Lee is expected to talk with the Baltimore media this afternoon.

Lee hit .260 (142-547) with 19 home runs and 80 RBIs in 148 games with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves in 2010. In 2009, he set a career-high with 111 RBIs and led the Cubs with a .306 average, finishing ninth in National League Most Valuable Player voting. In his 14-year career, Lee is a .282 hitter with 312 home runs, 1,019 RBIs and an .865 OPS in 1,829 games.

A two-time National League All-Star (2005 and 2007), and three-time Gold Glove Award winner at first base (2003, 2005, 2007), Lee has hit at least 20 home runs in nine of his last 11 seasons and played at least 140 games in 10 of those 11 seasons. In 2005, Lee finished third in NL MVP voting, winning the NL batting title (.335) and Silver Slugger Award and setting a career-high with 46 home runs.

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 11:18 AM | | Comments (23)


Love it. Great offseason so far.

It was only $7.25 million? That's a great price! I can't wait to see him in an Orioles uniform.

We'll see if the Angelos curse gets lifted but chances are Lee has a very disappointing season.


Glad they got this done. Feeling better about Lee than LaRoche, all things considered. Read this morning on another site that Lee turned down a 1 yr. 8.25M offer from the Padres. Interestingly, Lee had made it no secret he had his sights set on a west coast team that could compete for a championship. Any idea why he chose Baltimore if there was an option that better met his expectations for almost the same money? details superbly how LaRoche should have never been evenly compared to Derrek Lee. Lee trumps him in every positive offensive & defensive category, especially measurements of productive at bats. I'll add, the blue collar work ethic and play thru injury & pain in order to anchor the lineup and inspire teamates to higher achievement cannot not be measured and will prove invaluable on a Buck Showalter team.
Likewise, I suspect our core young nucleus will now be able to better relax with the additions of Reynolds and Lee and Hardy to some extent, and focus on just playing baseball instinctively.
Adam Jones just may explode to Super Stardom. Lock him up long term if he has a great 1st half. Wieters too.

It's officially time for the AM haters to ease up. AM has addressed the most glaring O's weaknesses this offseason w/out breaking the bank. With Buck and new coaches, revamped infield and bullpen and another year of maturity for the SPs, I think we're finally relevant again in AL East. With good progress in 2011 B'more will not be radioactive for legit FAs next year.


Dan -

Do you guys have access to the specifics of the physical? I'm sure everyone is wondering about Lee's surgically repaired right thumb...

Also, I'm interested to hear what Lee has to say about joining the O's. I'm sure you guys will ask why he turned down the Padres and the Nationals to come here instead. I'm thinking it's because Baltimore is the best hitters park and he wants the best chance to up his value for next winter, but I'm sure he won't say that.

This will be a good short term deal for the Orioles. Lee will have a strong year and position himself for a final three year contract somewhere.

Let's see how the new players do with a new coaching staff and Showalter for the whole season.

AM however, is a hideously slow and plodding GM---the Orioles fanbase deserve much better. Here's hoping that this is his final season and that the owner promotes Showalter to GM after this season to run the Baseball Team.

I like many fans want to see ths Derek Lee signing work out for the O's. We are overdue to catch a break in this kinds of things but...on paper this doesn't look good to me. He is coming to the Am league for the first time so I expect at least 200AB before he acclimates to the pitching he'll be seeing. Plus his numbers are trending the wrong way the last couple of years to expect batting avg and run production from him. And if we are lookling at numbers check out Luke Scott's trending. His numbers are going up and last yr his numbers were better than Lee's. I'm not saying Scott is the answer here but at least on paper he outperformed Lee last yr and could project much better this year. This is what happens when a team has to settle for players the competitive teams have already passed on.

no matter how it turns out they have made some great moves , maybe one more veteran pitcher to eat uo some innings .by june teams will want lee , then we go get prince

agree with all....good move.....needed a RH bat

MT, you are insane. What has Showalter ever done that would make him a good GM? Has he ever been a GM before?


Best move of the off-season. It's good to see the Orioles make a serious attempt at putting a competitive team on the field. Hats off to the front office and to Peter Angelos. Twelve consecutive losing seasons is more than enough to keep us humble.
The meek may inherit the earth, but they'll never do anything in the AL East.

Can't believe some of the negative comments on Lee. The big thing I see with Lee is that he's a 282 lifetime hitter i.e. he's a HITTER with power as opposed to those power guys with 198 & 210 BA's.
Plus, he's righthanded (a glaring need), great fielder & good clubhouse guy. Once our primary target jumped to Tigers, Lee to me was the best option. Yes, Adam Dunn would hit 10-15 more HR's but with a much lower BA, cost a lot more, play worse defense etc
I love what AM has done & I believe it's cost us NO draft picks (TRUE??) & none of our top prospects.

Lee was not offered arbitration, so no draft picks are involved.


If you will recall, he built the Arizona Diamondbacks from the ground up. He was their first hire; developed their entire farm system, handled their expansion draft, hired all the minor league coaches and managers, and managed the team up until he was fired. They won the World Series the next year, by the way.....

Ease up on AM,, really? He signed yet another fill-in, over the hill player who if we are lucky might have a decent year. Who is the long term solution at 1B. And dont tell me Prince Fielder or any other upcoming Free Agent who we'll never overpay to get here. He needs to trade for an up and coming minor leaguer like he did for Adam Jones

I am a closet Cubs fan (I love Wrigley, the city of Chicago, and wanted to root for an NL team) and so I got to enjoy seeing Lee quite a bit on WGN and in person, and he always silently impressed me. He seemed a positive leader and provided very good defense at 1B. Last year was a fluke, plain and simple. He was hurt. I look for him to be somewhere near .280/25/85 in 2011. And something tells me that he will help develop Adam Jones into the star we all thought he would become.

I just want to reiterate that I feel like picking up Reynolds, Hardy and Lee absolutely solidified the infield (praying that Brob stays healthy).

Gregg and Accardo will help with bullpen depth, and I like the fact that Buck can go to either Koji, Gonzo or Gregg (and maybe Accardo) to close out the game, depending on the situation. I suppose this is "Closer by Committee" and I'm okay with that. I hope that Gregg will be okay with that, too.

I was upset that Andy's acquisitions were taking too long, but that's just the way it is. Now I'm quite happy with the team's progress. I do not believe we need another veteran starting pitcher, but I'm not against bringing Mill back. I don't think he'd have the roller coaster year of '10.

I'm looking forward to FanFest on the 29th more than I was last year. Anyone else going?

You guys are all insane. He is a 35 year old coming off an injury riddled season where he had back issues. back issues dont just disappear as you get older. A great offseason??? No the redsox had a great offseason the Orioles had a mundane offseason adding a 198 strikeout machine and a nice but hardly overwhelming shortstop. Showalter is the best part of the O's offseason(even though I realize he was hired last year but had the whole offseason to evaluate the orginization).

Lee's numbers rending the wrong way the last two years!!! Please look at the facts-take another look at his 2009 year. I hope he "trends down" and matches those numbers this year!

Guys, quit sounding like Rush Limbaugh going on (lying) about the non=existant "death panels" ! GEEZ

First, I echo Mark Hawkins post about signing Vlad and putting Luke Scott in LF.

Second, I agree the $7.25M for Derrek Lee sounds like a bargain. Let's hope he hits all those incentives and pulls down all $10M plus some post-season money.

Third, Brandon Snyder and Robert Andino to the Phillies for Joe Blanton and Jonathan Singleton.

Fourth, sign Brian Fuentes to be the other lefty in the 'pen. We would then be looking at the best bullpen in baseball.

Then sit back and smile at a 25 nuggets who could be playing a menaing game on Labor Day.

Dimo, take off the O in your name as that more accurately depicts your baseball knowledge. Lee had a thumb issue and gutted it out all year...not a back. Give it a rest in your bashing...the most astute baseball people in the game have rated AM's work, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES (need I tell you about them) as perhaps the best in baseball so far. The Red Sox can afford just about anyone, along with NY...let's try to remember what AM has to deal with and give him the kudo's he so deserves.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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